Sunday, December 30, 2012

Facial scrubs: Creating the base of an oil based scrub - specific examples for oily or acne prone skin

In all honesty, those of us with oily or acne prone skin should probably stay away from oil based scrubs and stick to using water based or surfactant based scrubs. If you really want to use one, consult a good list of comedogenic ingredients, formulate something really simple (one or two oils maximum), and keep a really good record of how your skin reacts. Consider using "oil free" ingredients, like silicones, esters, fatty alcohols, and fatty acids.

I know oily skinned people who use the oil cleansing method and swear by it, but there are so many of us who have suffered horribly from trying that method. You will really need to keep notes about how your skin reacts to all kinds of oils!

Acne prone and oily skin can really benefit from exfoliation because the skin can build up around the hair follicle, so we want to do it regularly, but we need to be very gentle with our skin! I like to use a soft brush or slightly more abrasive wash cloth with my favourite foaming cleanser to exfoliate, although I do like jojoba beads and cranberry seeds lately. Remember, though, I'm not a training beautician or anything like that, so this is just my opinion and my experience. Your mileage will vary! 

If we take a look at this comedogenicity list, you can make some decisions about which ingredients you might like to use. Remember to take these lists with a grain of salt. For every one that lists shea butter as 0, I can find one that lists it at 4. (Here's one from Soapnuts and another from Essential Oil U.)

Click here to see the post from earlier today about comedogenicity.

I know someone will comment about the evils of mineral oil at some point, but it really is a good choice for oily or acne prone skinned people for moisturizing. It doesn't offer all the lovely phytosterols, polyphenols, and fatty acids we find in vegetable or seed oils, but it does act as an occlusive and will help moisturize our skin.

Is mineral oil comedogenic? Not according to this study. "Greasiness cannot be equated with comedgenicity. The admonition forces acne patients to seek "oil-free" skin care products has no scientific merit with regards to comedogenicity. Cosmetics are an unlikely cause of the relatively high prevalence of post-adolescent female acne." Wow! That's pretty amazing, eh? Now, this was published in 1996 and there may have been some studies done since then, but I think it's a pretty amazing study in itself! Check out also this study Is Mineral Oil Comedogenic? which came to the same conclusions. 

And consider the silicones - cyclomethicone and dimethicone. I haven't been able to get conclusive evidence about the comedogenicity or either, but they are in a lot of products for acne prone or oily skin. The great thing about dimethicone is that it will offer barrier protection to prevent wind chapping, for instance.

As an aside, really take a look at those "oil free" products. I've seen quite a few of them with shea butter - which is quite comedogenic - and some with sunflower oil. I guess shea butter isn't technically an oil, but sunflower most definitely is. Not really sure about the definitions any more. 

Consider also fatty alcohols - like cetyl, cetearyl, or behenyl alcohol - and fatty acids, like stearic acid used at up to 5% in a product to thicken the oils and behave as oil free moisturizers.

For an exfoliant, use something really gentle, like jojoba beads, clay, baking soda, or seeds. (Physical exfoliants part 1 and part 2.) I don't suggest using something like walnut shells, sugar, or salt for acne prone skin. Clays would be a really great choice because many of them are good at absorbing oils.

What is the point of this product for oily or acne prone skin? To remove dead skin cells gently and moisturize afterwards. We want to avoid things that might be comedogenic or acnegenic.

10% cyclomethicone
10% dimethicone
79% mineral oil
1% essential oil

As a note, this will have an almost indefinite life span, so we don't need to include Vitamin E unless we want its properties of softening in the product.

20% evening primrose oil
80% fractionated coconut oil

Evening primrose oil is great for acne prone skin, but it isn't necessarily great for those of us with a tendancy towards clogged pores, so keep a good record of what you've made and detail how it affected your skin. And fractionated coconut oil is a great emollient that might be comedogenic, so keep those notes!

Facial serum for oily skin blend (click for details about each ingredient)
25% squalane
25% sesame oil
20% borage oil
10% calendula oil
20% pomegranate oil

I really like this combination and haven't found it makes me break out more often! It has a low greasiness feeling. It should have a 6 month shelf life - longer if you add 0.5% to 1% Vitamin E.

50% castor oil
49% oil of choice
1% essential oil (optional)

You will have to play around to see what works for your skin for the optional oil. I would suggest something with low comedogenicity, but you can try just about any oil you like.

The general idea is that like removes like, so oils can be broken up with oils. Some people love this cleansing method, some people hate it, some people don't care either way. If you have some suggestions for great blends, please post them as a comment, but please be civil. And remember to sign off with your name if you don't have a Google/Blogger account - anonymous comments make me a bit nervous these days! 

You've made a lovely blend of oils, but it's not a scrub until you add the scrubbies! Join me tomorrow to add some scrubbiness to our oil based facial scrubs!


Michele Clarke said...

I haven't had issues with my sunflower and sugar scrub but like you state it varies person to person. I tried other oils and it does aggravate my acne. I look forward to trying different recipes. I do have some ingredients on hand. I was wondering about other scrubbies to use.

Anonymous said...

here is my scrub that i always used for years. Lemon juice, honey and sugar. Now i add yogurt, tumaric powder, oats and recently i added macadamia oil, jojoba+ rosemary and my skin is breaking out like crazy. I was also using cyclodimethicone with vit. C and E. Now i am not using no oil at all. I do apply rosemary extract that i make with 40% alcohol, is alcohol bad for our skin?

melian1 said...

castor oil might in fact be an excellent choice for oily skin. i have dry to normal skin and castor oil is so drying to my face it is actually painful. i tried it in an oil cleansing blend and i had to use a face cream immediately to get relief.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan, Love your blog! Where can I purchase the PPG-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate? The only place I show that has it is Croda, but they will not return emails regarding sample requests. Any other suggestions?